9:35am

Mon June 6, 2011
Monkey See

Morning Shots: Smurf Controversies, Tax Subsidies, And Projectionists

After a hiatus caused by traveling, royalty, and other inconveniences, the morning roundup returns.

I try not to spend too much time focusing on theories that strike me as ... what's the word ... "offbeat," because we're all busy people. But I did enjoy this report in The Guardian on a brewing dispute over whether The Smurfs are racists and communists. (They all eat together! They have one leader!) Unfortunately for our collective (oops!) sense of the absurd, it appears that the theory is sort of satirical — maybe — but that hasn't stopped fans from fighting back. You will pry their Smurfs out of their cold Smurf Smurfs, and so forth.

Tonight is the night Scott Pelley, who looks as much like a guy reading the evening news as perhaps any guy who has ever been born, actually becomes a guy reading the evening news on a permanent basis, as he takes over what was Katie Couric's job on CBS. Meanwhile, reports are everywhere that Katie Couric is headed for a talk show deal at ABC.

There's a very interesting piece in the Miami Herald about the growth of arts events — particularly free events — in Miami, and the ambitions that have helped drive what locals hope is a "cultural explosion."

Apparently, MTV never tires of same-sex kissing as some sort of loss leader, because last night at the MTV Movie Awards, Robert Pattinson kissed Taylor Lautner. Whether you are on Team Edward or Team Jacob, MTV is really hoping you are on Team Why Yes, Apparently Straight Men Kissing Each Other Is Still The Funniest Thing Ever.

On a semi-personal note, my pal Gael Cooper's new book, Whatever Happened To Pudding Pops?: The Lost Toys, Tastes & Trends Of The '70s & '80s was featured on All Things Considered this weekend. Gael is the longtime curator of the blog Pop Culture Junk Mail, and an editor at MSNBC.

Director Terrence Malick is well aware that mistakes by a projectionist can screw up the audience experience of a movie — particularly one that's already as challenging as his new Tree Of Life. So he sent a letter making a few requests. (via FirstShowing)

NPR Digital Arts editor Trey Graham has discussed the board game Be A Broadway Star! on our podcast, Pop Culture Happy Hour, but The New York Times now has a report, along with a video of the game in play.

And finally, a note especially for those of you who enjoy following Monkey See comics blogger Glen Weldon on Twitter: a list of projects that got lucky with the California Film Commission reveals that TNT's new series Franklin & Bash is tax-subsidized. Up top, bro!

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